Democrat ex-Gov. Bill Richardson is decrying the state Public Regulation Commission (PRC) nominees submitted by the Public Regulation Commission Nominating Committee as non-representative of New Mexico, specifically in regard to Native Americans.
Richardson told the Associated Press that the exclusion of these rural-area individuals was “a glaring omission.”
He said, “To ignore northwestern New Mexicans and the Navajos in Cibola, McKinley, and San Juan counties is both short-sighted and insensitive,” adding, “The PRC needs to go back to the drawing board. Period.”
Most of the nine nominees selected to fill the three spots on the newly created governor-appointed commission are from the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas.
Former Four Corners Power Plant engineer Jeff Peace, who applied but was not selected as a nominee, said, “We don’t have [representation] now. And if it’s not me, then somebody else,” saying, “But like I said, we just keep getting shortchanged up here.”
Regarding the outrage over the nominees, Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s press secretary Nora Sackett told the AP, “The governor’s role is just one aspect of the comprehensive process that seeks to ensure qualified professionals can be relied upon to work on these technical matters that affect every New Mexican.”
The report noted:
Joseph Little is among those who will be considered by the governor. From the Mescalero Apache Nation in southern New Mexico, Little has worked with tribes on everything from water rights to utility easements.
The others are Cholla Khoury, New Mexico’s chief deputy attorney general for civil affairs; Amy Stein, who has worked as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and California before teaching in Florida; former Public Service Co. of New Mexico resource planner Patrick O’Connell; former Republican state lawmaker Brian Moore; FERC senior policy adviser Gabriel Aguilera; Carolyn Glick, who worked for years at the PRC as general counsel and a hearing examiner; Sandia National Laboratories engineer James Ellison; and Arthur O’Donnell, who has served as a PRC consultant.
But still, Richardson insisted, “I just think it was very insensitive and wrong not to include a Navajo.”
Read more about all the PRC nominees here.